Oil prices mixed amid Trump’s latest OPEC criticism

Oil prices mixed amid Trump’s latest OPEC criticism

The oil price is mixed Thursday afternoon, as US President Donal Trump criticised OPEC for the still high price of the valuable commodity. The oil price has been rising in recent days, partly reflecting concerns as Iran sanctions come into full effect and also as EIA data showed a weekly draw on US oil stocks.

By around 1500 BST, the price of Brent crude oil was 0.53% lower at $78.50 per barrel. The price of US WTI crude, meanwhile, was 0.21% higher at $70.92 per barrel.

Trump calls for OPEC to work towards lower prices

Ahead of a closed meeting in Algiers over the weekend, where OPEC and its allies are set to discuss oil prices, Trump tweeted that OPEC must do more to lower the price of oil.

“We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices! We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!,” Trump tweeted.

The US President has consistently called for lower oil prices and criticised OPEC’s lack of action to help make that happen.

OPEC not expected to officially raise output

While the price of oil is rising amid output pressures, particularly as the full might of US sanctions against Iran are coming into effect and removing its contribution from the broader market, OPEC members are still continuing to hold to their output cap agreement.

However, while its thought that the group and its allies won’t officially lift that cap or call for an increase in output, it’s possible the meeting in Algeria this weekend could result in a higher level of global output than there currently is.

OPEC members walk a tightrope, with regards to oil output and prices. If they pump too much oil, then the price of the valuable commodity falls, along with their revenues from it. However, if the price rises to high, then politically, that can prove a bad move.

In addition, if OPEC members raise their oil output too much, Iran could have grounds to complain to the body that other members are replacing its production quota – even though US sanctions will drastically limit its market.

By Ilona Billington
Ilona is a freelance writer and editor with over 15 years experience reporting and writing about UK and European economics, real estate, financial markets and central banks.
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